Welcome to a lengthy, detailed, deeply personal log of my spiritual journey during the last 6 weeks. Several parts of this are worthy of their own articles, but I would rather each reader had the full context of each element for maximal delivery efficacy. Before continuing, I recommend preparing yourself for such an intimate account of my life and its recent battles (or stopping now and moving on if you have no reason to care). There is much depth of life contained herein, and I urge you to invest the time to find it. If you know me in real life, try not to be too shocked by what you read, and whoever you are, keep an open mind!
I have just returned from a trip to Atlanta where I visited Josh, a friend of mine for the past few years and the brother of one of my closest friends. The purpose of this trip was not social, however: I went to visit his church and elicit supernatural encounters with God. To ensure you understand the context of the trip, I was raised a Baptist Christian (and was saved at the age of 4) and have been quite thoroughly fed up with the conservative model of reality that strongly denies (whether they admit it or not) the presence of the supernatural. He has been trying to instruct me in the supernatural ways of the Holy Spirit for years with marginal success. Patience is not my strongest virtue, so I finally decided to bite the bullet and make good use of some spare vacation time, and I found a great price on a straight-shot round-trip ticket to Atlanta via my personal favorite travel site, Orbitz. A large factor in my decision to fly to Atlanta was the fact that I have been told many times by Josh and his peers that there are no churches within 90 minutes of me that have the solid grip on the supernatural that I crave.
The last month or so has been rather dramatic for me both mentally and spiritually. My frustration with the lack of the supernatural in my life had nearly reached a plateau; I wonder if the occult significance of the age of 23 years has anything to do with my situation, as I am only a few weeks away from the end of my 23rd year as a member of this supernaturally damned race. I was sick of church and its vain religiosity, let down by several Christians I knew in just a few days' time, and hitting brick walls with my occult research. I was also losing motivation in my job (along with several of my closest coworkers), and curiously, a coworker that I didn't know that well approached me with a large number of spiritual questions. I was unable to help him much, because he was frustrated by very similar issues to mine (but less focused on the supernatural). He actually took another job offer, so I made a new friend with intellectual depth just to have him promptly move away. I even began my own curiosity-driven search for other jobs, if only to whet my appetite. Around the same time, my mostly distance-relationship girlfriend had some struggles that she handled in an unfortunate manner and inflicted some notable emotional pain on me. Fortunately we've largely gotten through that and are in some ways closer than ever, but the timing was very hard for me. I even had a series of intense issues to work through with one of my roommates; it was just one of those times where every area of my life was under assault. However, throughout the chaos of these last 4-6 weeks, several spiritual themes were arising...
The most notable spiritual theme was love, which was highlighted for me in exactly 4 areas:
The final result was a strong realization that I am sorely lacking in the love department. While I think I do very well so far in loving my girlfriend and the responsibilities that entails, most other areas of my life do not enjoy as high a level of commitment from me in this regard.
Several random times throughout the last 3 weeks, somebody in my path has mentioned the joy of giving (and not once related to Christmas gifts, it was somewhat profound each time). I reread Nathan's excellent short posts on giving: A Collection of Ideas and Corroborations and Expectations and Giving. I also skimmed back over the concepts of giving in Deepak Chopra's Book of Secrets. The primary reminder was that I cannot give spiritually to others until I am somewhat spiritually endowed, yet I cannot be spiritually rich without giving all that I have spiritually to others.
Through job frustrations, spiritual inadequacy, and commitment doubts with my girlfriend, I reevaluated my standards of excellence to determine how appropriate they really are. To keep this portion of the tale short, the summary is that I do not believe I could lower my high standards without compromising most of the virtues in me that God blessed me with more than most. I will not settle for a naturalistic (if you're a conservative Christian, feel free to read that as "carnal") worldview such as that lived out by most fundamentalist Christians that surround me. For similar reasons, I will not settle for a job that holds me back from what God has given me ability to accomplish to the betterment of this world (not that I've decided this to be true about my current job yet), and I will not settle for a girl that is unwilling to pursue her full potential in life (fortunately, this is not the case with my girl).
I have always been a visionary, focusing on long-term goals while my peers struggled to even imagine themselves in any particular job someday. Many times during my decision-making processes of the last few weeks I have been reminded how important it is for me to not only remember my visions and goals, but to prioritize their accomplishment.
I decided to post summaries of each successive trip epoch in chronological order to preserve the information codified in the progression itself. In other words, I present it journal-style.
The trip got off to a good start; my morning ritual went by without any kinks. My roommate, who was providing my ride to the airport, has a tendency to oversleep, but he was up and ready today. Security was rather ridiculous at the airport, taking 30 minutes just to make it through the lines and checks. They also had to throw away $10 worth of toiletries, because I hadn't flown in a while and was not aware of the recently bloated policies on gels and liquids. Since most of my toiletries were larger bottles, I lost a brand new (opened yesterday) $6 bottle of hair gel. Not a big loss in the grand scheme; I was already spending hundreds of dollars on a trip dedicated to rediscovering God, so I suppose $10 is nothing to cry over.
Josh had not planned much of anything for the trip, so we mostly chilled and played Battlefield 2142, which I had not played before but promptly fell in love with, quickly earning two new ranks and becoming (from my unbiased view of reality) a rather deadly sniper for my inferior newbie weaponry. Eventually that night we settled into some spiritually oriented conversation, and the purpose of the trip finally began to be implemented.
Josh prayed for the Holy Spirit's presence, and he began playing the guitar. More than usual I could sense something spiritual in the room, and his guitar-playing was mesmerizing. I suspected that he had asked the Spirit for guidance in what to play, because his rifts perfectly matched the spiritual tone of the conversation as we went (he later confirmed my suspicion). We talked as he played, and I explained how I determined to come with no particular agenda, simply the expectation of God's revelation. I also told him next to nothing about the events of my life from the preceding weeks.
He explained how God had given him a dream the night before with vital information for starting my quest. In the dream, there was a 5-pointed star (please ignore pentagram references, it is only relevant in the simplest metaphoric sense) with love at the top point represented by a ruby (apparently red is frequently referenced as the color of love in his circles). There was a particular point I was to focus on for the purpose of love, and that was represented by grace. Knowing nothing of my previous thoughts on love, Josh informed me that God wanted me to know that grace is the key to unlocking a flow of love in my life (this is not necessarily universal truth; this is information purporting to be tailored to my specific situation). This alone is noteworthy, especially because of the 5 points (remember my 4 previous emphases on love? I didn't tell you 4 for effect, there truly were exactly 4) culminating in grace.
Next we prayed for the Spirit to guide me and show me something, with Josh strongly emphasizing my need to diminish my left brain (as I am a highly analytical person) so I can receive imagery better. He started telling a tale of a river in heaven, and his guitar playing led me into a small visual journey of a river. However, it was very forced and I knew I was consciously producing it. I decided to ignore Josh's words and just try to hear God. I had actually been obsessed with staring at a tiny red pill on their coffee table that powerfully stood out to me. The lighting on it just seemed unnatural, and I couldn't take my mind away from it. I decided to really stare at it, and over time, the room grew fuzzy (a normal physical reaction to keeping your eyes totally stationary with little blinking for a period of time, try it and see). As I stared, focusing with my right eye first (my eyes are out alignment and I can only focus with one eye at a time), it began to grow spiral tendrils right in front of me and spin like a Niel's Bohr atom. I prayed for God to reveal the meaning, but I recognized no answer. After switching to my left eye, it orbited nearly identically, but with a perfectly perpendicular orbit to my right eye. Switching eyes back and forth caused the orbit to switch back and forth in turn. I explained to Josh, and we largely concluded that God just wanted to prove that He could show me things, and that I could see what He showed me. It was a very interesting image, and one that was very aesthetically appealing to my mind.
Later that night we went to the guest bedroom for some separation from his family. We talked about many random subjects, but the real treasures for me came in the form of a discovery and an epiphany.
As I really prayed for the Holy Spirit to declare His presence and teach me to see, I learned a new way to view the world. To be more accurate, I have always known how to do this, but I always wrote it off as foolish and/or counterproductive to whatever the current objective. I will develop the technique into a full article at some point (direct, personal displays of real interest are a great motivator for me: if you want the article sooner, ask for it!), but for now, here is the general process (it actually does not require all of this, but this is a decent starting technique if the concept is unfamiliar to you):
Once you can perceive this overlay, you should be able, with practice, to bring out this perspective wherever and whenever you desire. The brighter the surroundings, the harder it is to notice (for me anyway). I once thought that these sparkles represented defects in my eye or microscopic dirt on my cornea, but after paying close attention to it I now have reason to believe otherwise. It was in this subtle overlay of light that I began to see shapes and images with meaning. God is Light, remember. No, I cannot directly support this technique or claim biblically, but I do feel it is not inconsistent with Scripture. At the least, it involves prayer for the Spirit and looking at the light that surrounds us; these are both positive things for a child of God to do. I suspect some of you will bring to mind scriptural concepts such as Satan appearing as an angel of light, therefore we cannot trust something simply because it involves light. This is true in some contexts and incorrect in others. Arguments such as these could last for eternity, and I will pass on for now.
After learning to perceive the world in a new way, and asking the Holy Spirit for wisdom, I saw the shapes in Josh's ceiling form a tree, and I sensed it was the tree in the Garden of Eden. The purpose was to revisit the state of Creation in its original state of alignment with God. All of Creation, each individual creature, was vibrating at its own pitch, not unlike the Rosicrucian model of the world. The beauty of it was how the consummate vibration of all Creation produced a clear note that was a praise and glory to God, the kind of sound that brings tears just for the emotion of that solitary concept that is a chord. This perfect tone was glorifying God by its very essence. Furthermore, as time passed, each creature changed its note, but the harmony was maintained: each creature was fully focused on expressing something guided by its Creator, and this orchestral Creator was supplying each with a note each moment that was both reflective of Himself and thoroughly personalized to the creature, and as the moments passed, each creature produced a poetic song. Knowing how bass and soprano harmonize beautifully through the guidance of a master composer, producing a depth of sound surpassing that of a single note, imagine every single creature in the universe "singing" with the unique essence of their souls, their very being, each a song much more complete than a tonally monotonous bass part, in an auditory range far surpassing that of human vocals, under the guidance of the Master Composer, producing a song whose magnificence cannot be grasped by damned minds, a song that not only acknowledges but embodies the character of the Creator. This represents just one dimension of God's creation glorifying Him fully and individually. I was completely stricken with awe and an immense desire to have the privilege of experiencing the song by participating.
I next saw a piece of fruit taken from the tree, producing a horrific wave that rippled throughout Creation. As this wave spread from the tree, its vibration interfered with the vibrational pattern of every single creature, causing each one to become "off key." Every last creature lost track of its Composer to some degree or another and began singing its own misguided discordant song, producing a most violent cacophony. The screeching and clashing produces a pain that can scarcely be imagined, especially when preceded so closely by infinite harmony. The lost song was so beautiful, so essential, that even remembering it would be singing it, a privilege lost to all. The contrast was mortifying, a tragedy that only personal experience can reveal. I shed a tear.
Josh spent most of the day at work, and I had a substantial portion of time to finish some overdue video encoding and uploading, culminating in adamia articles and a youtube playlist. It felt good to finish this worthy endeavor, even though it is unlikely many will take the time to watch.
We killed a bit too much time Saturday morning on the computer with games and such, but in the afternoon profitable ventures ensued. Josh had an idea to turn my craving for evidence of the supernatural into a full-fledged ministry that could work with ministries around the world to bring their efforts into the open. Few ministries in the world have web programmers with my knowledge of the Web and search engines, and we could really help each one spread its message further than its inherent technological capacity allows. We spent some time producing a mission statement and ministry title, and I reserved the domain name to settle the deal. No, I will not reveal the name this early in the process. This is actually quite exciting for me; this takes some of the most important goals in my life and gives them tangible near-future possibilities for realization.